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Under The Crossbones - The Pirate Podcast

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Join comedian, musician, and pirate geek Phil Johnson as he explores the history and pop culture of pirates. Interviews with leading historians, actors, artists, writers, musicians, pirate festival organizers, and more.

Join comedian, musician, and pirate geek Phil Johnson as he explores the history and pop culture of pirates. Interviews with leading historians, actors, artists, writers, musicians, pirate festival organizers, and more.
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San Jose, CA


Join comedian, musician, and pirate geek Phil Johnson as he explores the history and pop culture of pirates. Interviews with leading historians, actors, artists, writers, musicians, pirate festival organizers, and more.




137 Richard Rasner of Clan Darksail

Richard Rasner aka Damashi D'Gascoigne is the head of Clan Darksail out of Southern California. We'll dig into the group's origins and the breadth of gigs they do from private parties to high end film work like "Master and Commander". Richard is also an expert on quartermasters, so we'll find out what that's all about. And we talk a bit more about "The Pirate Captain Toledano" which they were also involved in. Under The Crossbones is a podcast all about pirate culture. Your host Phil...


136 Blackbeard: Birth of American author Samuel Marquis

Samuel Marquis is a prolific historical fiction writer and the author of Blackbeard: The Birth of America. After a bunch of books about WWII, the CIA, and espionage agents, Sam turned his attention to the history of Blackbeard. Not only the facts and new research that have come out in the last few years, but what those conversations might have sounded like. And we get a great historical fiction novel about Blackbeard that really takes you into Blackbeard's head and onto the deck of the...


135 Somali Piracy Expert Jordan Wylie

Jordan Wylie is the author of "Citadel: The True Story of One Man’s War Against the Pirates of Somalia" and an expert in Maritime Security and Somali piracy. As much as we talk about the historical and pop culture aspects of pirates, I think it's important to also talk about how piracy still affects the modern world. And while the Somali's differ in a lot of ways from the old guys, they also share some common motivations. We'll dig into Jordan's background and how he came to maritime...


134 Anne Chambers on Grace O'Malley

Happy post-St. Patrick's Day! Anne Chambers is the world's leading expert on Ireland's Pirate Queen, Grace O'Malley. We'll dig into how and why she started researching Grace's life. Especially what part Grace O'Malley plays in Irish culture and how Anne has helped them color in the lines. We also discuss why "pirate" may not be the most accurate descriptor for Grace O'Malley. Under The Crossbones is a podcast all about pirate culture. Your host Phil Johnson (comedian, musician, and...


133 Anthony Cummins aka Captain Tonz

Anthony Cummins aka Captain Tonz makes the claim that he's a real pirate. We'll unpack his definition of what a real pirate is versus what the rest of us might think. Regardless of definitions, Anthony has a great many adventures at sea and he'll tell us about some of them.And we take a primer dive into Somali piracy (which we'll hear more about next week). Under The Crossbones is a podcast all about pirate culture. Your host Phil Johnson (comedian, musician, and pirate geek) interviews...


132 Sophia Cancelli and Ces Erdman of Cape Fear Parrot Sanctuary

It's a 2-fer today! Ces Erdman runs the Cape Fear Parrot Sanctuary. Previously a parrot rescue guy, now he just keeps unwanted parrots at his sanctuary instead of trying to rehome them which they don't like. (For reasons he'll explain.) And Sophia Cancelli is the resident fundraiser for Cape Fear Parrot Sanctuary and in deep fostering connections between the pirate community and the sanctuary. We'll hear about Sophia's time working in film and TV, how Ces fell into parrot rescue, and...


131 Randy Moore and Brandon Harrison of Northstar Penguins

A bit of an experimental episode this week when I asked on the UTC Facebook page "Any pirates in SLO?" and Randy Moore and Brandon Harrison of the Northstar Penguins leapt to the challenge. :) And "Penguins" is not a typo. They'll tell you the story. Usually I'm better prepared for an interview but went in cold on this one. Turns out Brandon and Randy are great guys and we had a great talk sitting on the patio outside the Lexington Inn in SLO. And a guest co-host this week! Comedian...


130 Bill Furney author of Black Hearts White Bones

Bill Furney is the author of Black Hearts White Bones, a fiction story about what might have happened to Anne Bonny and Mary Read after they "plead their bellies" at their trials for piracy. It's a really fun adventure story that takes quite a few twists and turns. Bill and I dig into his process for writing the book, all the way from research to how he created his audiobook for Audible. Some great info here for authors and anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of the book biz. And...


129 Keith Martin of the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Keith Martin is a librarian at the National Institute of Standards and Technology here in the U.S.A. And you're probably wondering what the heck that has to do with pirates. But there's a great story in here about how pirates thwarted the early attempts and using the metric system in the US. So if you still don't know how many liters there are in a kilometer, you're not alone. And if you didn't get the joke in that last sentence, then you're reaaaally behind. ;) Plus we'll dig into some...


128 Jenai Marek author of the Gup Adventures

Jenai Marek is the author of The Dangerous Voyage of Gup the Sailor. Gup is a young boy from a Privateer family who finds himself on his own, commanding a crew, and wondering if he'll be pirate or privateer. Jenai and talk about her writing process and how she decided to place Gup in a fictional world. And we'll find out who the real Gup is! We also get into the trials her family has suffered after Hurricane Harvey and how she's using it to motivate her writing. Plus shark...


127 Arnon Shorr of The Pirate Captain Toledano

Arnon Shorr is the writer and director of a short film called The Pirate Captain Toledano. The first(?) film about Jewish pirates! During our talk we get into some of the history of Jewish pirates and their motivations for becoming pirates. With a good resource included for more info. Then we talk about the always intriguing world of indie film making and why Jewish stories aren't told more in Hollywood. Some surprising stuff here. Plus a song from Jonah Melvon's new RainWater Project...


126 Ted Shred of Pirates For Hire

Ted Shred is the owner of Pirates For Hire and Double Dog Dare Events where he produces over-the-top events for any group that needs something crazy to happen to knock them out of real life. Ted has also worked as a stuntman and animal handler for dozens of movies. In this talk we dig into his father's Hollywood history and the changes he forced Hollywood to make. We'll talk about Ted's entree into the film biz. And, of course, where that name came from. Under The Crossbones is a...


125 Scarlett Dearheart of Dearheart's Doodads

Scarlett Dearheart is the owner of Dearheart's Doodads. She sells handmade clothing and accessories for discerning pirates, both lady and man. Even more than her own business, Scarlett is doing some great community building among pirates with the Tortuga Trading Consortium and A Pirate's Like For Me on Facebook. We'll talk about the hows and whys of Scarlett starting her business and what she's learned in her adventures so far. Under The Crossbones is a podcast all about pirate culture....


124 Eric Nelson and Kirby Heyborne of Pirates of the Great Salt Lake

Eric Nelson is the writer/director of the 2006 film "Pirates of the Great Salt Lake". He brought along Kirby Heyborne aka "Captain Kirk" to tell us the story of how their quirky little pirate film got made back when the whole Pirates of the Caribbean thing was heating up. It's a great story about bootstrapping a film and the highs and lows of its release. We'll also find out what the guys are doing now. Pick up a copy of the film here. Under The Crossbones is a podcast all about pirate...


123 Marcus Rediker

Marcus Rediker is the author of Villains of All Nations. It's a fascinating look at the golden age of piracy through the lens of pirates as freedom fighters. Marcus has written extensively on pirates in this and many of his other books. In this talk we dig into his reasons for doing so. And we go deep into pirate lore to inspect their motivations what the general public thought about them. We even tackle some of the thornier issues like slavery and the more psychopathic characters that...


Dec 2017 Special - Chris Bowes of Alestorm (Replay)

Happy holidays! I'm taking the week off to eat too much and visit with friends and family. Enjoy this replay of our most popular episode of 2017 with Chris Bowes of Alestorm! We'll be back January 2nd with an all new show featuring Marcus Rediker, author of "Villains of All Nations". Under The Crossbones is a podcast all about pirate culture. Your host Phil Johnson (comedian, musician, and pirate geek) interviews the most interesting people in the pirate subculture: Actors, Authors,...


122 Rusty Cutlass

With their genesis at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL, Rusty Cutlass has turned into one of the premiere pirate bands on the Southeast pirate fest scene. First we'll talk with Mark Miller aka Nasty Nate about his career with Disney, how Rusty Cutlass got started, pirate jokes, and concertinas. Then we'll pop over to one of the resorts and catch Ken Thiboult (Pepe Duval) and Dean Rasik (Dirty John Dirk) between sets. They tell us how they got involved with Disney, how the...


121 Colin Woodard author of The Republic of Pirates

Colin Woodard is the author of The Republic of Pirates, one of the most respected scholarly books in the pirate canon. In our talk, Colin digs into his motivations for writing the book and how technology made it possible for him to do research that wasn't available before. We also chat about how it connects to his other books on American culture and how those Golden Age pirates influenced America. Under The Crossbones is a podcast all about pirate culture. Your host Phil Johnson...


120 Bullet Valmont of The Wench Whisperer

Bullet Valmont has been pirating around Hollywood for a long time. You might know him as the advice columnist behind The Wench Whisperer. We talk about that as well as his new pirate performance group Imagine Pirates. And we delve into his journey as an actor in Hollywood from the lows of being homeless and still trying to make the audition to the highs of working with Jim Carrey. We recorded this talk in person on the back patio of an old haunted bar in Hollywood. And of course they...


119 Jesse Wiles of The Pirates Code Beard Oils

Jesse Wilkes is the owner of The Pirates Code Beard Oils and he wants to help you take care of the forest on your face. Pirates Code is a new business and we talk about what the startup process has been like for Jesse in his first six months hand mixing his products. And we get into his motivations for starting the company and how he's giving back to both the world and the pirate community with it. And I ask some very Seinfeldian "What's the deal with beards" type stuff. :) On Jesse's...


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